That is one of my favorite pictures. It is me, coaching my team from Drumheller, probably the most rewarding coaching experience I ever had… so far. I look at that picture and I am immediately filled with the feeling I get when 12 pairs of eyes are looking at me and they are all ready to do whatever it takes for our team to be successful. To be honest, it is nothing less than amazing.
Coaching has always been my dream teaching job. It seems like you always have a captive audience, committed learners, collaboration, dedication, teamwork and goal setting. I am passionate about basketball, and I am a lifelong learner when it comes to the game. I desperately want success for every member of my team, and do everything I can to read my players and provide for them exactly what they need. Some I push hard with stern tones and strong motivation, some I handle with kid gloves, and use care and compassion to help them find their way. I live for coaching, and I get so much more out of it than I give.
Tomorrow is my first game as a head coach of a college team. I am nervous, like my first time in parent teacher interviews. I have been practicing with the guys for months now, but tomorrow we let everyone else in on what we have been doing. I am on, and sink or swim, its time for us to do our best to be successful. It is a preseason, exhibition game in our home tournament, so the stress level isn’t as high, the onus on winning isn’t there to the same degree, I am resting injured/ill starters and key bench players, but I still want us to do well. This is a dream realized for me, and I would obviously like it to go well.
Tonight, we finished practice with a team meeting and I talked to my players about the importance of us having each others’ backs, about contributing to the team through individualized roles, and about our understanding and exemplifying of our team identity. It made me think about how great it would be to have a similar conversation with my Gr. 8 classes. I want a classroom where everyone has each others’ backs, where students find roles they can fill and contribute in those roles, and a classroom where the identity is clearly defined and exemplified in our day to day interactions. Why not have a “team meeting” and do the same thing with my students?
I don’t know if that idea will work, but I do know that my coaching provides me with a lot of great ideas that transfer to my teaching. I remember being pleasantly surprised and a little shocked when my school division supported me in taking this coaching job and providing all the support I needed to be able to do both coaching and teaching. I mentioned it to a lot of people and more than a few times I heard people say things like “it will make you a better leader/educator for the division” or “this will only benefit the division as well”. I didn’t really see that, but I am starting to.
Tomorrow I coach Game #1 in my college head coaching career. I have no idea how successful we will be, or even how many games I’ll get to coach in my career, but I am excited. Tomorrow I truly will be working in my “Dream Teaching Job”, and I do believe it will make me a better educator in every position I have in my career.